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Monday, 16 November 2015 10:09
Lawrence Chehardy: Jon Bel Edwards, the right choice for Louisiana Governor

lawrence chehardyWe are now entering the last week of Louisiana’s race for governor.  After seven and one half years of Bobby Jindal, voters are ready to make a change.  Louisiana has been neglected by its current republican governor.  So the question is which candidate will be that change.  Voters are struggling with conflicts of democrat vs. republican and a “serious sin” republican vs. a West Point graduate, former Army Ranger, and pro-life, pro-gun democrat.  The choice would not be so difficult if the pro-life, pro-gun West Point graduate and former Army Ranger were a republican.  But in this race that ideal candidate with the credentials, background, and family values is not a republican.  He is a democrat.  For all voters, democrat, republican, and independent, the obvious choice is a democrat, John Bel Edwards, if the man and his substance mean more than simply voting political party. 

Party labels have become so ingrained in voters’ minds that many voters refuse to vote the person.  Instead they blindly vote the party.  The next governor must not be an ideologue, but rather someone who can bring people together, get things done, and solve problems.  Democrats and republicans, whites and blacks, the cities and the suburbs all pulling together to make Louisiana the best she can be.  But that takes leadership from the top, something our state has lacked.  David Vitter’s track record is not one of bringing people together.  And his Washington values, where democrats and republicans fight and do nothing, are not suited to Louisiana. 

With Washington style slash and burn politics now a part of Louisiana’s landscape, voters are subjected to a barrage of negative advertising that plays on voters fears.  The David Vitter campaign and its political action committee (PAC) take the prize this election season.  Voters were subjected to distorted and unfair negative attack ads against Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne, Mr. Vitter’s two republican opponents in the primary.   In addition, John Bel Edwards was wrongly and unfairly linked to President Barack Obama.  The ads claimed that an Edwards governorship would be like an Obama third term.  How ridiculous!  Did David Vitter’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani (R) for President in 2008 mean that Mr. Vitter was pro-choice like Mayor Giuliani?  No, it did not.  And likewise, President Obama has no influence on John Bel Edwards; and the Vitter camp knows this.  But the ad was playing to people’s fears and dislike of the president contributing nothing to a real discussion of our state’s future. 

And in what could be called the ultimate in chutzpah, David Vitter is now crying because there are not more debates for him and John Bel Edwards to engage in.  This is coming from the very candidate who in the primary ran as far away from televised debates as he could participating in only two such debates.  The man is shameless. 

When President Bill Clinton was caught in the Monica Lewinsky affair, Mr. Vitter called for Mr. Clinton’s resignation.  That’s right.  David Vitter called on President Clinton to resign.  When Mr. Vitter’s phone number was found in the D.C. madam’s possession, Mr. Vitter failed to follow the advice he gave to President Clinton and went into hiding until the “dust” settled.  The Republican Party stood by Mr. Vitter even though it later called upon the “kissing congressman” to resign.  There is a double standard for Mr. Vitter, and he has used it throughout his political career. 

As voters head to the polls on November 21st, the future of Louisiana hangs in the balance.  Our image, our state’s leadership, and our state’s fiscal future are at stake.  The past seven and one half years has left Louisiana without leadership and our state in a fiscal mess.  The next governor must be able to bring people together to find solutions to our state’s problems.  The price of oil is not expected to rise significantly in the near future, and the next governor and legislature will have to find a way to balance the state’s budget and repair the damage that has been done through deep budget cuts to education and health care.   

Louisiana needs a governor who will focus on being governor and not on outside interests or distractions.  This election is important and our state’s future is at stake.  It is about who is the best choice to be the next governor, not the D or R after his name.  John Bel Edwards is the right choice to serve as our next governor.


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